Sunday, February 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: Marc Blatte

Marc Blatte is the man behind the powerful new urban/hip hop noir Humptey Dumpty Was Pushed. You can get all the details on his website and you can get his debut novel at all the usual places.

Methadone and the Maginot Line

Two guys between nods are slow-walking up Lex on a cold and sunny spring morning. Both are small and stooped, rail thin. Each one is hanging loosely onto xxx-large Dunkin’ Donuts coffee cups. One is wearing blue jeans and a varsity jacket, the other a raincoat.

Varsity speaks. “You know the French they thought they were impervious.”

Raincoat. “I know they did with that Maginot line. That’s right. The Germans showed them.”

Varsity: “That’s right, Rommel he just drove those panzers right through the Ardennes and kicked French ass.”

Raincoat: “Did you know it was the 12th of May and the following day the French government was forced to abandon Paris?”

* * *
This conversation between two loud-talking junkies stands out for shattering every stereotype I ever had of everyone who comes to the neighborhood for drug maintenance, coffee, and good company. Given the Disneyfication of Manhattan you’d think that the conversation had taken place back in the day when you could buy heroin and cocaine or get robbed and murdered anywhere at anytime. But it happened recently near the fancy apartment of Julia Roberts, the thousand dollar a night suites at The Gramercy Park Hotel, and 17 million dollar brownstones. Back in the day the local politicians made a calculated deal with the city, and agreed to house the Police Academy in exchange for having the neighborhood become the “go to” place for methadone distribution. I suppose, the logic was that one way to keep a lid on populations prone to aberrant behavior is to allow them to “do their thing” under the watchful eye of wealthy folks and police cadets.

On reflection the conversation between the two methadone clients offers a potent history lesson, and a chilling reminder of where we are today and where we might be heading.


Vicki Delany said...

What an interesting observation. Thanks Marc. The "War on Drugs" has so obviously failed, it's time to start thinking in a new direction.

Anonymous said...

So where ARE we heading?

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